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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks-

It's time for either a) a rebuild or b) a replacement crate engine or c) a different engine from a different manufacturer altogether.

A can be done, obviously.
B can be found, perhaps (is Phil Singler still doing engines)
C...hmmm what typically goes in?

I'm not looking to do something that would cause me to have to redo my entire suspension, brakes, etc...

Thoughts appreciated.
 

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Hey folks-

It's time for either a) a rebuild or b) a replacement crate engine or c) a different engine from a different manufacturer altogether.

A can be done, obviously.
B can be found, perhaps (is Phil Singler still doing engines)
C...hmmm what typically goes in?

I'm not looking to do something that would cause me to have to redo my entire suspension, brakes, etc...

Thoughts appreciated.
Here is one with a Miata engine. Google search P1800 engine swap and you will see a few options. You probably dont want to follow in my footsteps.

https://cdn.bringatrailer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/3103-620x349.jpg


Truth is that there is not much space in the 1800 engine bay. Between the funny firewall, intrusive upper a-arms and steering linkage, the car was pretty much built around the engine. The gearbox tunnel is also a choke point when it comes to doing an engine swap. All said, the above is why I went with the full chassis swap.
 

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Hey folks-

It's time for either a) a rebuild or b) a replacement crate engine or c) a different engine from a different manufacturer altogether.

A can be done, obviously.
B can be found, perhaps (is Phil Singler still doing engines)
C...hmmm what typically goes in?

I'm not looking to do something that would cause me to have to redo my entire suspension, brakes, etc...

Thoughts appreciated.
If you are at all concerned with value, a numbers matching engine is a +. (if it is still the original engine).
 

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Considering the reliability and ease of service, I wouldn't change a thing.
Maybe go with fuel injection if you think that would help.
Maybe go with the newest engine version that originally came in the car.
I have had mine for only 1.5 and I have learned absolutely everything about the SU carbs and the engine. Mine is now extremely reliable.
Some type of automatic choke is about all that I would change.
Maybe the expensive distributor with timing that changes by itself and is bluetooth configurable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Considering the reliability and ease of service, I wouldn't change a thing.
Maybe go with fuel injection if you think that would help.
Maybe go with the newest engine version that originally came in the car.
I have had mine for only 1.5 and I have learned absolutely everything about the SU carbs and the engine. Mine is now extremely reliable.
Some type of automatic choke is about all that I would change.
Maybe the expensive distributor with timing that changes by itself and is bluetooth configurable.
I'm thinking more and more about a rebuild. Just not sure how far to go with it though.
(My 70 already has EFI.)
Unfortunately Pertronix (?) doesn't make a bluetooth-tuneable/configurable distributor for the B20E engine.
 

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I'm thinking more and more about a rebuild. Just not sure how far to go with it though.
(My 70 already has EFI.)
Unfortunately Pertronix (?) doesn't make a bluetooth-tuneable/configurable distributor for the B20E engine.
I updated the EFI on mine to a more modern version

;)
 

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I'm thinking more and more about a rebuild. Just not sure how far to go with it though.
(My 70 already has EFI.)
Unfortunately Pertronix (?) doesn't make a bluetooth-tuneable/configurable distributor for the B20E engine.
123 ignition makes a replacement for the B20E

http://www.123ignition.nl/product.phtml?id=93

It comes with various preprogrammed advance curves for various B engines. 123 does offer distributors for vintage Volvo engines that are USB or Bluetooth programmable with custom advance tables; but not with the contacts for the D jet.

The Djet is a batch fire system. If your D jet is in good condition a modern conventional port fuel injection system is unlikely to improve maximum performance much. A new system would likely idle better and have better start up and warm up operation. A modern system would also allow you to tune the fuel system if that is of any value.

Something to consider in the rebuild versus replace equation is the cost of a rebuild. I rebuilt my 1971 B20E starting about 7 years ago. It needed to be rebored with 0.030 oversize pistons. The crankshaft was good but I replaced all the bearings including the camshaft bearings. Needless to say the cam and lifters were junk (that will be a given on your engine if it has seen any significant use). The rockers were OK; but, needed reprofiling. A couple of the valves were replaced, new guides were installed and the seats were redone with inserts in the exhausts to deal with unleaded fuel (you will need that). I reused the original oil pump and timing gears because measurement of clearances indicated they were fine. I did R&R and disassembly and reassembly of the engine and took all the pieces to the machine shops for work. I also ended up putting in new injectors. I had the rotating assembly balanced which is an optional cost. With machine shop costs and parts costs the engine rebuild was probably around $1500 Cdn $. If the crankshaft had required work that would have added a couple hundred dollars depending on how much work was required and assuming it is salvageable. I expect that now the number would be close to >$2000. That would be less in US $. The engine will need a new cam and lifters if they are original. If all you need is rings and some valve work then your costs are a lot less.

The Miata drivetrain and the Saturn Vue (non turbo) drivetrain are potential modern candidates for transplants just because the engines are pointed in the correct direction and the size is in the right range. I recall that there is a least one Ford 2.3 transplant which is a less current engine design. There was also an excellent transplant of the F20C from the Honda S2000; but, those are neither cheap or readily available. There are other potential candidates from things like Alfas; but, they tend to fall into the F20C club.

If your P1800E is in pristine condition, then you may want to preserve its value by doing a rebuild of the B20E even if it is a full meal deal rebuild. If your p1800E is non pristine and you need the full engine rebuild, then you might be able to pick up a salvage Vue or Miata drivetrain for less than the cost of a complete rebuild. Both of those engines are likely significantly lighter than the B20E (early Miatas for sure) which would net you a performance increase even if the power is no different. Those newer engines will typically have flatter torque curves than the B20E which will also improve performance. The engine rebuild has the benefit of being straightforward. The engine transplants, even if they fit easily will always require a significant level of fabrication / figuring things out.
 

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The 123 distributor for our engine (dJet) is not one of the Bluetooth configurable versions. Still, it does the triggering for the dJet and has been an improvement over the Petronix it replaced.

Looks stock except the FI trigger connection and has been a welcome upgrade in my case.

fwiw one of the best improvements I've made.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
123 ignition makes a replacement for the B20E

http://www.123ignition.nl/product.phtml?id=93

It comes with various preprogrammed advance curves for various B engines. 123 does offer distributors for vintage Volvo engines that are USB or Bluetooth programmable with custom advance tables; but not with the contacts for the D jet.

The Djet is a batch fire system. If your D jet is in good condition a modern conventional port fuel injection system is unlikely to improve maximum performance much. A new system would likely idle better and have better start up and warm up operation. A modern system would also allow you to tune the fuel system if that is of any value.

Something to consider in the rebuild versus replace equation is the cost of a rebuild. I rebuilt my 1971 B20E starting about 7 years ago. It needed to be rebored with 0.030 oversize pistons. The crankshaft was good but I replaced all the bearings including the camshaft bearings. Needless to say the cam and lifters were junk (that will be a given on your engine if it has seen any significant use). The rockers were OK; but, needed reprofiling. A couple of the valves were replaced, new guides were installed and the seats were redone with inserts in the exhausts to deal with unleaded fuel (you will need that). I reused the original oil pump and timing gears because measurement of clearances indicated they were fine. I did R&R and disassembly and reassembly of the engine and took all the pieces to the machine shops for work. I also ended up putting in new injectors. I had the rotating assembly balanced which is an optional cost. With machine shop costs and parts costs the engine rebuild was probably around $1500 Cdn $. If the crankshaft had required work that would have added a couple hundred dollars depending on how much work was required and assuming it is salvageable. I expect that now the number would be close to >$2000. That would be less in US $. The engine will need a new cam and lifters if they are original. If all you need is rings and some valve work then your costs are a lot less.

The Miata drivetrain and the Saturn Vue (non turbo) drivetrain are potential modern candidates for transplants just because the engines are pointed in the correct direction and the size is in the right range. I recall that there is a least one Ford 2.3 transplant which is a less current engine design. There was also an excellent transplant of the F20C from the Honda S2000; but, those are neither cheap or readily available. There are other potential candidates from things like Alfas; but, they tend to fall into the F20C club.

If your P1800E is in pristine condition, then you may want to preserve its value by doing a rebuild of the B20E even if it is a full meal deal rebuild. If your p1800E is non pristine and you need the full engine rebuild, then you might be able to pick up a salvage Vue or Miata drivetrain for less than the cost of a complete rebuild. Both of those engines are likely significantly lighter than the B20E (early Miatas for sure) which would net you a performance increase even if the power is no different. Those newer engines will typically have flatter torque curves than the B20E which will also improve performance. The engine rebuild has the benefit of being straightforward. The engine transplants, even if they fit easily will always require a significant level of fabrication / figuring things out.
Thanks for all the intel!
My car is what I like to call a "rolling restoration."
It has 375k miles on it. I'm the third owner and I've had it since 2000. Was my daily driver, so anticipating full rebuild.
Rust in the usual places, paint sucks, interior is a near select-all/delete, but I keep at it as life and time in NYC allows.

I'm thinking about possibly pairing up the 123 with Megasquirt, VintageAir and maaaaybe a bootleg power steering assembly, but that might be overkill.
 

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Thanks for all the intel!
My car is what I like to call a "rolling restoration."
It has 375k miles on it. I'm the third owner and I've had it since 2000. Was my daily driver, so anticipating full rebuild.
Rust in the usual places, paint sucks, interior is a near select-all/delete, but I keep at it as life and time in NYC allows.

I'm thinking about possibly pairing up the 123 with Megasquirt, VintageAir and maaaaybe a bootleg power steering assembly, but that might be overkill.
If you go with Megasquirt 2, the MSExtra version of the firmware is better performing (in my opinion). If you do MS2 with the MSExtra software you can modify the MS2 V 3 board to give you full sequential fuel injection and drive 4 coil on plug (or equivalent coils). Yoshifab makes an adapter that fits in place of the original distributor and allows you to drive an optical sensor used on Mitsubishi, Hyundai and others from the '90s (around $50 new from Rock Auto). With a replacement sensor disk from Yoshifab you get a cam position signal and high frequency tach signal. I installed 4 COPS from a 2003 Toyota Corolla which I picked up for around $35 from a pick and pull. Implementing ignition control in MSExtra allows you to have whatever advance at whatever RPM and manifold vacuum that you want.

If you already plan to invest in the Megasquirt, the additional cost of the Yoshifab parts, a new optical sensor, a driver board from JB Performance and 4 COPS from a Corolla (common as dirt in salvage yards) will be less than the cost of the 123 distributor. However, it will definitely not look stock if that is important to you.

As a heads up, implementation of sequential fuel and spark control is easier with MS3; but, MS3 is a significant step up in cost compared to MS2. Once you have entered that cost range there are other options from other vendors that are cost and performance competitive with MS3.
 
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